On February 4th, 2004, Facebook was born. That was 11 big years ago, proving that time flies when you're having fun and "liking" stuff. To help put things into perspective on this Fun Friday, we compiled a cute little list of fascinating things that are - believe it or not - younger than Facebook. Each of these time stamps, including some great editorial photos, are available for downloading at Bigstock.com.

OkCupid (2004)

 

Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt (2006)

 

Siri (2010)

 

"That's Hot" (2006)

 

The Presidency of Barack Obama (2009)

 

Twitter (2006)

 

The Legalization of Same Sex Marriage in Massachusetts (2004)

 

The Cronut (2013)

 

Lady Gaga's Bad Romance (2009)

 

The New Wembley Stadium (2007)

 

Sexting (2005)

Wanna keep celebrating? We got a few other youngsters in a curated lightbox dedicated to our special Facebook's birthday. Happy birthday Facebook.

Posted
AuthorAshley Hefnawy
CategoriesFun Friday

When it comes to editing photos, some post-processing mistakes are inevitable. Even seasoned pros misstep from time to time. You most likely have the basics down: you can sharpen images without over-pixelating them, remove noise without making your subject look unnaturally smooth, and straighten tilted horizon lines. However, you could be making some rookie mistakes without even realizing it.

From filter flubs to color corrections, here are three of the most common mistakes photographers make when editing photos.

Embracing Every Fad

People seem to go crazy for the next new filter or effect ... until the next new one comes along. Keep in mind that when you hop on the trend train, all the nifty tools you slaved over will look dated in a couple of years. Proper exposure, natural colors, and interesting – but not overdone – compositions are key principles that lend a timelessness to great photography, but there are many popular processing gimmicks you consider avoiding, such as:

Selective Coloring: In the late 1990s and early 2000s, photographers were delighted that editing software allowed them to add a pop of color to black and white photos. This trend led to so many selectively-colored images that the fad rapidly became one of the most widely known photographic clichés of its time.

Lens Flares: Natural, on-camera lens flares can be beautiful if done well. However, if you use a Photoshop filter to paste one in randomly, it will almost always look fake.

Sepia: Sepia tones were never intended as an aesthetic effect. Rather, film processors in the late 1800s used sepia pigments from cuttlefish to make images more durable. Modern photographers don’t need to make digital images durable.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography: HDR is a processing technique that lets you use several exposures to create an image with a luminosity range that is impossible to obtain in a single exposure. This technique often results in surreal, and obviously unnatural, images.

Of course, just because a particular technique is a fad doesn’t mean you can’t use it to create art – just keep in mind that these filters and effects are tools and don’t overuse them. Learn when certain post-processing techniques are appropriate to avoid looking like a newbie.

 

Overdoing Colors

It’s easy to tweak brightness, contrast, and saturation in digital photos. It’s also easy to blow your colors way out of proportion. Here are some specific dangers to dodge when editing color.

Whitening: Many beginners push things too far when whitening the eyes and teeth of their subjects. A bit of whitening is perfectly fine, but too-bright teeth make your model look like he left the white strips on too long.

Contrast: As you adjust the contrast slider on your images, keep an eye on the dark and light areas of the picture. Too much luminosity, and you’ll lose the detail in the bright spots. Too much contrast, and the shadows will turn into stark black voids.

Colors: Every lens and camera renders color a bit differently, which means it’s often necessary to bump up the overall saturation, or the saturation of a particular color. However, if you take it too far, your images will go from colorful to cartoony. Similarly, avoid excessive de-saturation unless you’re intentionally trying to create a pastel look.

 

Abusing Curves

Curves are something of a mystery to many photographers, even to some with years of processing experience. To put it simply, curves manipulate tone and contrast, and give you a way to expand or compress the tonal range of your image. If you don’t understand exactly how to adjust the curves, you can end up with clipped shadows, blown highlights, and an array of odd colors.

Curve adjustments work on a give-and-take system. So if you use luminosity curves to increase the contrast in your shadows and highlights, you’ll lose detail in the midtones. Use the RGB curves to remove a greenish cast and you may find that certain parts of your image turn red.

In order to use curves without abusing them, learn how to read an image’s histogram, get a firm understanding of tonal ranges, and master your image-editing software. This will help you avoid odd color casts, or darks that are too dark and lights that are too light.

Because photo-editing effects or corrections are the most basic post-processing tools, it can be easy to go a little too far, which can lead to an amateur or over-processed look. Remember that it’s okay to push boundaries on occasion, but doing it too often will only lead to a catalog of clichéd content.

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield
CategoriesTutorials

Our free image of the week has an interesting sense of humor. As we prepare for "Winter Blizzard Juno" here in NYC, this week's free photo features the joy of a season's thaw. This image, of ice releasing its grip on the stones beneath it, can add some black and white wonder to your end-of-winter projects. It will be available for free downloading until 11:59PM, EST, Sunday Feb. 1st, 2015.

The photo comes to us from Bigstock contributor Latitude 59 LLP, from a stunning royalty-free collection that also includes images of glaciers, otters, and even a kneeling moose. Happy downloading.


Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield

Just when you thought you didn't have any real plans this weekend. Next Tuesday, January 27th, marks that time-honored tradition known all around the world as Chocolate Cake Day. A holiday most likely created by carb-crazed legislators, Chocolate Cake Day either celebrates the first chocolate cake (created in 1764), or the invention of the cake-mix-in-a-box version (created in 1935) - we're not sure which. Regardless, it's a holiday, and we must do our due diligence and honor it.

So, scratch those brunch plans and your friend Naomi's game night. You have some baking to do! And, for some inspiration, we've compiled an oven's worth of frosting-hugged, royalty-free stock photos of chocolate cake. Enjoy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

For twenty more calorific cake photos, check out our royalty-free collection below. Happy baking. 

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield
CategoriesGalleries

We all know that even a beautiful photo can sometimes be just a little too soft. You might be going for a richer, sharper look than what your photo is giving you. This super-quick Photoshop tutorial will help you easily sharpen up any photo. Let's take a look at this beautiful royalty-free Bigstock photo of a woman in nature with her dog. It has a nice, natural foggy look to it, but I'd like to sharpen it up. Let's go!

1. Open the photo in Photoshop

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2. Copy the background layer. You can do this quickly by hitting Command-J (control-J on a PC).

 

3. Set the blending mode to Overlay. With the new layer selected, use the layer palette's pull down menu and select Overlay (by default it will be set to Normal). 

 

4. Add a High Pass Filter. With the new layer selected, go to Filter>Other>High Pass. Use the sliding tab to adjust to your preference.

 

Ta Da! Look at that sharp photo!  

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Here are a couple of other examples of how of photos look before and after the High Pass Filter treatment:

Hope you liked this quick tip. Be sure to also check out How To Create Sparkling Eyes, and other Bigstock tutorials, right here on our blog. Have fun.

Posted
AuthorCristin Burton
CategoriesTutorials

Have you ever asked yourself what penguins do all day? No? Well, they really seem to live the most adorable lives ever. They wake up, greet the sunrise, eat, laugh, play, and socialize with their friends. They're just about the cutest animals we rarely get to interact with.

In celebration of Penguin Awareness Day (January 20th), we've put together some fun facts, and a very cool collection of royalty-free penguin photos. Each one is available for downloading. Enjoy.

Male penguins that are fatter are actually more desirable as a mate, given that their excess skin can serve as an "egg warmer" while their females go hunting, often for months at a time.

 

Penguins don't stay warm from blubber like some sea mammals. Instead, their feathers create a layer of warm air that provides insulation.

 

Though it may appear that a penguin's wings are for flying, they're actually for swimming. They are one of about 40 species of birds who do not fly. 

 

No penguins live in the north pole. (Who knew?) They only live in the Southern Hemisphere.

 

Penguins are hotties. Their normal body temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

 

These guys can swim underwater for 10-15 minutes before catching a breath, and they can swim up to 5-6 miles per hour, too. And, nope, they don't actually breathe underwater.

 

Penguins typically travel at a mellow pace though, only around 2 mph. 

 

Penguins roll deep. Especially deep, with nesting colonies of up to 10,000. 

 

Penguins can grow to be quite large, especially Emperor Penguins. They can stand to be as tall as 4 feet, and up to 100 pounds in weight. 

 

Final Fun Fact: Their eyes tend to work better underwater than on land. Fascinating stuff.

Check out more royalty-free photos in our curated Penguin lightbox, below. Happy downloading. 

Posted
AuthorAshley Hefnawy
CategoriesGalleries

Our free image this week wants you to "log" in. Ha! (Dries tears of laughter.) But seriously, this wintry photo of firewood should make a myriad of your marketing projects appear warm and toasty. The image will be available for free downloading until 11:59PM EST, Sunday 25th, 2015.

The photo comes to us from Bigstock contributor bypaulchen. His collection also includes stunning royalty-free images of mountains, meadows, and ski chalets. Happy downloading. 

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield

Feeling like a whole new you in the new year? We didn't think so. But, we're here for you when your New Year's Resolutions take a back seat - and so are these Twitter users below. Check out 14 of the most fascinating #NewYearsResolution tweets that prove we're all in this together. Happy Friday!

 
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Looking for more Twitter fun? Check out Twitter Confessions and Love Hurts: Tweets of Love. Oh, and be sure to follow @Bigstock on Twitter. Happy Friday! 

Posted
AuthorAshley Hefnawy
CategoriesFun Friday

Does your dog beg for the spotlight? Does your pussycat love to strike a pose? Well, we've provided some tips below that'll help purrfect your photo skills when framing your pretty pet. We've also compiled an inspiring assortment of royalty-free dog and cat images that are truly bow-wow-worthy. Have fun.

1. GO TOWARDS THE LIGHT

What goes for humans, goes for pets, too. Just as flash blinds our human eyes, it can frighten our little furry loved ones, causing them to lose focus. Outdoor photos change that instantly, as do photos that are naturally lit by open areas of your house.

 

2. AVOID BUSY BACKGROUNDS

The attention should be focused on your animal, not the bed, pillows, toys, clothes, and anything else that may be behind your favorite animal. If you're trying to create a nice environment, go for simple backdrops and easy locations. Certain lights and colors will compliment your little fur monster's natural colors and textures.

 

3. SURPRISE THEM

Pets don't necessarily pose for photos like humans do, so it might take a bit of work to get them to look exactly the way you want them to in a photograph. First, try playing with them, and making them feel more comfortable in their natural element. Then, surprise them. Have someone call out their name, or make a sound that will attract their attention in the direction of your camera.

 

4. MIX IT UP

If you're into taking "cute photos" of your pet all the time, that's ... fiiiiiiiiiiine, but it can look repetitive as a collection. Think of each photo as an attempt to broadcast your pet's whole personality. A combination of portraits, cute things, odd actions, happy accidents, and all the things that encompass the daily life the two of you inhabit.

 

5. FOOD ALWAYS HELPS

There's a photographer by the name of Theron Humphrey who has a precious coonhound named Maddie. Humphrey takes photos of Maddie on things. The secret to getting her to stay? Food. At least in the beginning, that's how it went. We can't say for sure that she still needs the food - she's probably used to being a starlet now. Still, if you want your pet to "stay," try training them with food or treats as a reward, so that they know there's something to look forward to afterwards.

 

6. FOCUS ON THE EYES

If the rest of the photo is blurry and the eyes are in tact, then you probably have a decent photo. So much of your animal's expression is in its eyes. Particularly if you own a non-vocal animal, their eyes can tell you everything, and that's definitely something worth capturing.

 

7. GET UP CLOSE & PERSONAL 

Zoom in to capture less, and you'll end up saying more. Try filling the entire frame with their eyes and nose, or just focus on the wagging tale with a simple background to compliment the movement.

Begging for more? Check out our Dress Your Pet lightbox, below, filled with even more royalty-free, downloadable cuteness.

Posted
AuthorAshley Hefnawy
CategoriesTutorials

The idea of branching out your biz via email marketing can seem overwhelming at first glance. Digitally sharing your brand, promotions, and products with thousands of people is an exciting power to possess, but it comes with a bit of work. This is why we're happy to announce our latest partner, Zoho Campaigns.

As part of Zoho’s business software suite, Zoho Campaigns offers easy ways for you to create emails and newsletters for your business without needing any web design or HTML skills. Primarily an email solution for growing businesses, Zoho Campaigns also supports CRM integration and marketing automation capabilities. To further amplify email campaigns, Zoho users can now access Bigstock's 22 million royalty-free photos and illustrations without ever having to leave Zoho's website.

Here are just a few reasons why you'll love Zoho Campaigns, and how they can help take your growing business to the next level in the new year.

YOU CAN USE IT FOR FREE
Zoho offers many plans depending on the email needs of your business, but you can start your own account for free. With a free Zoho Campaigns account, you'll be able to send up to 12,000 emails a month to 2,000 contacts without worrying about backup solutions, upgrades or maintenance. Zoho will make sure your account is always up-to-date.

Screenshot of "search results" during the template customization process.

Screenshot of "search results" during the template customization process.

YOU CAN CREATE EMAILS WITH EASE
Zoho’s template gallery, populated with pre-designed templates, allows you to set up your emails and newsletters with a few clicks. The drag-and-drop editor helps you “pop in” assets, such as Bigstock images, into the email template, allowing for heightened customization. Furthermore, these templates are responsive, which means your company’s email will look good on any device.

YOU CAN CHECK IN WHILE YOU'RE OUT
With Zoho's mobile app, you can oversee the success of your email campaigns right from your iPhone. The app also allows you to view campaign results, check in on the growth of your email lists, create new mailing lists, and share reports with coworkers. You can even create and edit email lists in offline mode to maximize your efficiency.

We live in a world where customers’ inboxes are saturated with advertiser messages, “limited-time” coupons, and multiple calls to action. The Zoho-Bigstock partnership can help growing businesses create compelling e-marketing campaigns and break through the clutter. For more information on how Zoho can help you with your email needs, follow this link to Zoho Campaigns.

Posted
AuthorBrian Masefield